Hong Kong Street Food: Gourmet Chick in Hong Kong

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Sadly Hong Kong’s street food is an endangered species.  One of my favourite things when I visited the city was exploring the tiny street side food stores known as dai pai dongs with local food writer and blogger Janice.  Dai pai dongs first appeared in Hong Kong at the end of World War II and used to be plentiful but only 28 remain today.  The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in Hong Kong does not issue new dai pai dong licenses anymore and so with every dai pai dong licence holder who decides to shut up shop another dai pai dong is lost (the only exception is that dai pai dong licence holders can pass the licence on to their children).  It will be a real shame for Hong Kong for these little stores to disappear as they add a bit of grittiness and colour to what is an increasingly homogenous city.  Plus they’re a great place to get a cheap eat.

Locals eating at a dai pai dong in Hong Kong
Dai pai dong
There’s a cluster of dai pai dongs in Stanley street in Hong Kong’s central district.  Look out for the green roofs of the stalls.  A lot of the stall owners don’t speak English so you just have to point at what you want to order (or get Janice to order for you like I did).  The food is nothing fancy and service is non existent but eating a plate of hot wok tossed noodles while perched on a little plastic stool on the side of the street is a great experience.

Essentials
Details: Look for the stalls on Stanley street, Central, Hong Kong
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
7/10  

Noodles dai pai dong style
 
Lan Fon Yeun
A cup of milk tea is a classic Hong Kong experience according to Janice.  It seems to be a bit of a nod to Hong Kong’s colonial past and one of the most famous tea stalls is Lan Fong Yuen  which was founded since 1952 in Central.  It’s so famous the stall is papered with photos of the various Hong Kong celebrities who have eaten there.  The milk tea itself is was a frothy combination of black tea and condensed milk. Lan Fon Yeun also does “pantyhose tea” which started in the 1960s when the owner poured his tea through pantyhose into the cup to produce a silkier tea.  The tea was very milky which is not surprising – an acquired taste I think.
Essentials
Details: 2 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong (Ph 2544 3895)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
6/10

Lan Fong Yuen – you’ve got to queue for the tea
 
Tai Cheong Bakery
Not strictly a street food stall the Tai Cheong Bakery is actually a store but its food that you eat on the hoof so Janice included it in the places she took me to.  Tai Cheong Bakery is all about the egg tarts with their wibbly wobbly custard filling and sweet slightly crumbly pastry.  Tai Cheong distinguishes itself from its competitors by using a shortcrust pasty instead of puff pastry

Essentials
Details: 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong (Ph +852 544 3475)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve.  5HKD per tart.
7/10

Egg tarts to go
Gourmet Travel Tips
  • For my other tips for eating in Hong Kong here’s my guide to Hong Kong eating and my guide to Hong Kong dim sum
  • Cathay Pacific flies to Hong Kong from Australia from $1150 return and from London British Airways flies there from London from £569 return.
  • We stayed at Hotel LFK which is bang in the middle of Hong Kong’s party hub, the Lang Kwai Fong area.  Our deluxe suite was huge and stocked with everything you could ever want from a bath and rain shower stocked with Molton Brown goodies to free wifi and an in room coffee maker.  The room rate also includes cocktails each night in LFK’s glamorous “Restaurant slash bar” Azure and the views over the city skyline are stupendous.  Details: Hotel LFK, 33 Wyndham Street, Lang Kwai Fong, Hong Kong (Ph +852 3518 9688 ) Rooms start from HKD$2,998/£245/$379) a night. 

8 comments

  1. Food in HK is sensational! I haven’t had a bad meal yet there!!!

  2. I’m looking forward to returning to my favourite city in the world next year.
    I’ve eaten at a few of these small street stalls and yes the food is nothing special, but it is an awesome experience and i love street food anywhere.

  3. It will be my next planned trip to Hong-Kong!

  4. HK has so much great food and I was surprised that there wasn’t as much as street food as I remembered from when I was young. Or perhaps everything seemed much bigger then!

  5. I have never been to HK so really loved these pictures. Street food done properly, by the looks of it!

  6. I’ve been flipping whether I should go to HK or the US again…after reading this, I may just do both! Why not?! Great tips Cara, thanks!

  7. Andi – Agreed. If you love food it is paradise.

    Mzungu – Yes I think it’s all about the experience isn’t it!

    Emily – Good luck I hope you enjoy.

    Not Quite Nigella – Places do change but sometimes it’s hard to work out if it was just your memory or not.

    Kari – Sadly I think Hong Kong’s street food is a bit endangered – I hope it survives.

    Adrian – It’s a hard call but I am sure you would love Hong Kong.

  8. Just found your site and really am enjoying your posts! I love food, and have never been anywhere in Asia so I have been obsessed with reading about different places lately. Hong Kong sounds incredible and your tour is great! Get in touch if you ever come to Madrid and I’ll take you on a tour!

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